Monday, May 01, 2006

Share and Share Alike

My friend Jill has pinkeye, which reminded me of an embarrassing incident from my past; and since I've based my entire literary life on opening the kimono, as far as embarrassing incidents go I thought you should have this one.Almost exactly two years ago, the dog started fussing with her eye. She would claw at it and rub it against her beloved bed. Had she a compact mirror and opposable thumbs, she would have been flipping it open, pulling up the eyelid and staring at the eye obsessively.

After a few days of watching this behavior, I decided she had scratched her cornea doing something unfathomable and stupid, and I took her to the vet.

[You know what's nice? When every single assistant at the vet's office knows your dog by name, and the woman at the front desk sings out "Oh, what did she do now?" That always makes a person glad she didn't opt instead for the flop-eared rabbit that day so long ago at the animal shelter.]

The vet determined she had some sort of eye infection. I was given drops, told to them put them in her eye twice a day for a week, and bring her back if there were any complications. The dog, having had a satisfying eyeball scratch on the door, took her first eyedrop dose with something not entirely unlike grace.

About five days later, I woke up early one morning with the oddest feeling that something was...off. Sitting up in bed and attempting the previously unremarkable act of standing, I determined the odd feeling was a total lack of depth perception. Picking myself up off the floor, I went to the mirror and found one open, albeit morning-puffy, eye. The other eye was completely closed, unable to open, and appeared to be melting down my face.

"Well, that's new," I thought sagely.

I considered all of my options, and had two thoughts which never before in the history of human reasoning had been put together.

"I might have had a stroke. I should drive myself to the hospital."

In my defense, that side of my body still appeared to be working in all the usual ways. I didn't want to wake Consort; if I was dying of a stroke, I reasoned, he would have enough mornings of getting up early to get Daughter ready for school. If it really was a stroke, I'd have the hospital call him before all the speech I had left was a gargling sound and, on occasion, the word "GROUNDSKEEPER!".

So, at five in the morning and in the dark, my drooping eye and I drove to the hospital. On a weekday, at a small suburban hospital, you get seen quickly -- had I taken the same symptoms to County Hospital, I would still be in the waiting room. It was determined that I had an eye infection which, I was assured, would grow incredibly itchy by the middle of the morning. I was handed eyedrops, which I was to put in my eye twice a day for a week. My one non-drooping eye stared at the bottle; the name looked familiar.

I asked for the name of my eye infection.

The dog and I had the same eye infection.

The dog and I had the same medicine, at the same strength.

The dog's medicine cost half as much.

I asked the doctor if the eye infection was contagious. Only if I was using the same towels as an infected person, he said.The dog rarely uses towels -- unless vomiting on piles of clean laundry in a basket qualifies as "using towels" (though, frankly, I think that's more of a hobby for her). I conscientiously washed my hands every time I put the eye drops in, so that shouldn’t have been the point of contagion. She is exactly the type to be secretly licking my mascara wand late at night, but I may never never know exactly how we both got infected.

In time, we each got over our eye infection, although the dog never seemed interested in learning how to put in her own eye drops, and no one ever offered me an elderly carrot as a reward for not biting a finger during the eye drop procedure. No one else in the house got so much as a stray eyelash.So, in summary: The dog and I have both had eye infections. The dog and I have both had lipomas. The dog has horrendously foul breath and pernicious flatulence.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Karen said...

Dear Quinn:

Please stay away from the cats...the thought of you hacking up a hair-ball gives me a queasiness I cannot describe.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Storm said...

Great post!

I am still laughing about the opposable thumbs and compact mirror. Hilarious!

~Cara

1:23 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Actually, my father informed me that, some days previously, he had "felt himself having a stroke" and drove himself to the hospital. I talked about him moving closer to where I live, and pointed out to him that if he were to have a large stroke, he wouldn't be able to drive himself to the hospital, but he feels actually MORE secure living four blocks from the hospital because he can drive HIMSELF there than he does living with me so I can drive him there. I'm not sure if I should feel insulted or not.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Goslyn said...

ROFL. Oh so funny.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous Maggie said...

I don't know how I stumbled across this post, but that was hilarious! You have a gift!

2:41 PM  

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